Brahmin must keep his body chaste so that its impurities do not
detract from the power of the mantras he chants. "Deho
devalaya prokto jivah prokto sanatanah. " (The body is a
temple. The life enshrined in it is the eternal Lord. ) You do
not enter the precincts of a temple if you are unclean. Nothing
impure should be taken in there. To carry meat, tobacco, etc, to
a temple is to defile it. According to the Agama sastras you must
not go to a temple if you are not physically and spiritually clean.
temple called the body - it enshrines the power of mantras - must
not be defiled by an impurity. There is a difference between the
home and the temple. In the home it is not necessary to observe
such strict rules of cleanliness as in the temple. Some corner,
some place, in the house is meant for the evacuation of bodily
impurities, to wash the mouth, to segregate during their periods.
(In the flat system it its not possible to live according to the
sastras). In the temple there is no such arrangement as in a
we live we require houses as well as temples. In the same way our
body must serve as a house and as a temple for Atmic work. The
Brahmin's body is to be cared for like a temple since it is meant
to preserve the Vedic mantras and no impure material is to be
taken in. It is the duty of the Brahmin to protect the power of
the mantras, the mantras that create universal well-being. That
is why there are more restrictions in his life than in that of
others. The Brahmin must refrain from all such acts and practices
as make him unclean. Nor should he be tempted by the sort of
pleasures that others enjoy with the body.
Brahmin's body is not meant to experience sensual enjoyment but
to preserve the Vedas for the good of mankind. It is for this
purpose that he has to perform rites like upanayana. He has to
care for his body only with the object of preserving the Vedic
mantras and through them of protecting all creatures. Others may
have comfortable occupations that bring in much money but that
should be no cause for the Brahmin to feel tempted. He ought to
think of his livelihood only after he has carried out his duties.
In the past when he was loyal to his Brahminic dharma the ruler
as well as society gave him land and money to sustain himself.
Now conditions have changed and Brahmin today has to make some
effort to earn his money. But he must on no account try to amass
wealth nor must he adopt unsastric means to earn money. Indeed he
must live in poverty. It is only when he does not seek pleasure
and practices self-denial that the light of Atmic knowledge will
shrine in him. This light will make the world live. The Brahmin
must not go abroad in search of fortune, giving up the customs
and practices he is heir to. His fundamental duty is to preserve
the Vedic mantras and follow his own dharma. Earning money is
secondary to him.
the Brahmin keeps always burning the fire of mantras always
burning in him, there will be universal welfare. He must be able
to help people in trouble with his mantric power and he is in
vain indeed if he turns away a man who seeks his help, excusing
himself thus: "I do the same things that you do. I possess
only such power as you have."
the fire of mantric power has been put out (or it is perhaps like
dying embers). The body of Brahmin has been subjected to
undesirable changes and impure substances have found a place in
it. But may be a spark of the old fire still gives off a dim
light. It must be made to burn brighter. One day it may become a
blaze. This spark is Gayatri. It has been handed down to us
through the ages.
"Hindu Dharma" is a book
which contains English translation of certain invaluable and
engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji (at
various times during the years 1907 to 1994).
For a general background, please see here